Thursday, October 16, 2014

October: Beginning of Days/End of Days

Today I feel cold and yet the temperature outside is in the sixties and it's a gorgeous sunshine filled day highlighting the rapidly changing trees giving them an amazing luminosity.

It's knowing another wedding anniversary is quickly approaching.

Oh how we planned from that March 15 when he finally proposed --  today that date seems to have been almost an omen, The Ides of March, of what was to come.  We set the date for mid October. I would graduate college in May; he had graduated the year before in January. We'd been through a separation of hundreds of miles as he began his career in Michigan and I continued school in Missouri. Yes, our love endured that separation. It's enduring this one.

Our Wedding Day. It was an absolutely beautiful October Fall day complete with majestic colors on the trees with leaves scattered on the ground. I dressed in the little house next to the Church for that special walk down a very long aisle into the church I'd attended rarely -- having been away at college.

My husband and I met across a ping pong table; I won. Or maybe he let me win? Anyway, it was October .... another October.

We met at The Newman Center on campus. He was one of three young men who came into my life at the same time. Funny now; challenging then. Just simple dates, really, and having one of those three become my husband wasn't even in my mind.

I was a Freshman and wasn't there to find a husband; it was a long journey to get there and difficult to stay. Working whenever I could and a very, very small scholarship (kids today would laugh at the amount; of course, they'd laugh at what a year of college and books cost back then, too) were what kept me going.

My father's death provided VA benefits, but they were also a very small amount. But, Dad, in your own way, despite your life challenges, you helped give me that gift of education. You had many challenges, Dad, but I remember one thing you always told me, "An Education is something no one can ever take away from you." I value that to this day.

That handsome young man, four years older than I was, who had left college and went to work, went into the Air Force and then the Reserves, returned to college just in time . . . 

We had our first date in October -- the next night after the chance (?) meeting. There was a movie on campus and I think it was Hiroshima, Mon Amour -- not exactly the type of film for a first date but we didn't know anything about it and it was, after all, just a date.

Fall and Spring. Meeting and Engagement. Marriage. Then comes Winter and the dreaded long, cold and sometimes emptiness -- and death.

We'd loved all the seasons, even Winter, actually, as we went through the years together; sports, trips to ski, the boys playing ice hockey when the small pond behind our house froze enough. Building snowmen, hot chocolate, rare school holidays when the snow was over a foot deep.

Yes, Winter wasn't always memorable for the sorrow... so I choose to remember the joy.

Three family members moving from this life onward:  Father, Husband and Mother. And all within days of the other. Can't remember the date of my father's death but my mother passed on the third anniversary of my husband's burial. I felt she would be fortunate to get through December and the holidays when I saw the changes that were very evident in her health and rapidly decreasing physical abilities.

And when we were told the facility believed she was in her last time with us, it was just a few days until that fatal anniversary.

Even though they said she would pass three days before, I knew in my heart it would be that day. It would be as it had been before. When we would be with her as we were with him and telling her as we did him, it's all right, we'll be all right, you can go.

Daughter and I and a call returned to second son who was with us on the telephone when she took her last breath. Meant to be. We three looked after her, cared for her and walked with her on her last long journey on this earth.

No real regrets. I was able to give my mother a life filled with joy and great opportunity after a life filled with great challenges and many sorrows.

My husband and I? Well, we had our own challenges in life and our story together was a long one considering he almost died when he was a small child and had appendicitis. Ironically, we learned when we were dating that he and my mother were both in the hospital, although different hospitals, at about the same time, both with life threatening appendicitis and both had their lives saved by being given a new, miracle drug called Penicillin.

So, fate or a higher being, however you want to believe, gave them both longer lives to come together and to be a family and I, who wasn't in Mom's life at the time, would come into this world and the three of us would live together for many wonderful years along with the additional family my husband and I would bring into this world.

Regrets?  A few. But not about what we chose to do that now give me comfort knowing we did not wait, did not say we'd have time another day or year. We rode the merry-go-round of life and reached for the golden ring and sometimes we grabbed it. Life was anything but easy and challenges that came were often more than we thought we could bear. But we did.

It was, after all, our life. Together. And that was, when all is said and done, what really made the difference.

 Shifting the topic but not the focus -----

While continuing my search for a job that will give us what we need to do more than survive, I found a website I'd like to share with you. It's a Not For Profit organization dedicated to creating weddings and renewal of vows for couples where one or even both have terminal illnesses.

Imagine my oldest son would see that as "wasteful" and "unnecessary". He told me when we were going through times right after my husband's death I should stop "taking charity".

He had helped with expenses we could not provide for the funeral of his father as had his brother. I thought of it as tribute, not charity. If he was referring to some other short term assistance we received, well, all during his father's illness and his grandmother's we were left to forage for ourselves and the help we did receive was usually given with great reluctance.

I'm grateful to those who were able to help and grateful for all the times we were able to help so many others in their times of need.

I'm glad daughter and I didn't see our time and all the money we spent on husband/father and mother/grandmother as "charity" -- although there are those who see charity as love and not as an undeserved handout.

Dwelling on his inability to handle life's challenges is not the focus today.

Sharing a website and hoping in some small way this might bring more joy in times of such great pain means more. I have those wonderful memories, after all.

It is in the giving that we receive is a saying I've tried to live my life by.

Please visit  And, if you have a little extra to share, create a memory that will live long after the "I Do's" and the "until death do we part" vows are spoken.

And/or, pass it along to others who might want to "throw a little rice" on a couple so in love for whatever time they have together.

Take a moment in life today. Stop and look around you. If there is beauty and if there is joy, hold it close. Someday you'll pull that memory out, for as long as you're able, and hold it close again.  Beginning of Days/End of Days.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments and any additional information we can research and pass on to others. Together we learn and grow.